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IN-DEPTH: Family members remember more COVID victims this Dia De Los Muertos

Posted at 1:45 PM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-30 01:33:46-04

WACO, Texas — Many people have begun preparing for their annual "Day of the Dead", a day most may equate with Halloween.

While the two do have similarities, they couldn't be more different.

Most people know Halloween as a scary, even terror-filled night of fright.

On the other hand, Mexican families know it as a day which shares only the theme of death.

Rather than look at death as something to fear, some families consider it a passage and stop to remember family members who have moved on.

National Geographic has this list of ten things we should know about the "day of the dead" essential things that remind us of the importance of the holiday.

First, the United Nations recognized the tradition as part of Mexico's cultural heritage in 2008.

It originated with the Aztec, Toltec, and Nahua people, who called the mourning of the dead, "disrespectful". They preferred to celebrate life, saying the memory of those lost continued to influence the living.

So the holiday combined All Saints day and All Souls day and set the celebration to coincide with the fall harvest.

The centerpiece of the celebration is the ofrenda, or altar, to welcome spirits with water, food, family photos and a candle.

You'll hear literary calveras, sarcastic tombstone sayings bantered about. Strictly speaking, calveras means skeleton.

Families offer sweet bread or Pan de Muerto to lost relatives along with sugar skulls.

Folks don costumes and hit the streets for merry noise-making to rouse the dead and keep them close.

Paper creations represent the wind and the fragility of life, something some say hits home in the age of COVID.

This year's Dia De Los Muertos may take on special significance due to the many people lost in the hard-hit Hispanic community, due to the pandemic.

The Resendez family lost both parents, Moses and Julia, within days of each other last summer after they contracted coronavirus.

"They were loving, caring people. People of God, the kind of people who would give the shirt of their back for anybody," said the couple's son, Gabriel Resendez.

The family and others will remember their loved ones as Dia De Los Muertos draws near.

The holiday born from the indigenous people of Mexico honors those lost and celebrates their life and their spirit which remains with us.

The fight with COVID wasn’t the first the Resendez family faced.

“Pastor Mo” as people called him, dedicated his life to God and started a church after surviving a health dilemma.

"The doctors said there was nothing they could do for my dad at the time. My grandma and them all prayed for him and it was a miracle, but from that day on, he served God, "Gabriel recalled.

Data from the Federal Government show Hispanics still get COVID at an alarming rate, accounting for almost half of all cases.

Meaning more families like those of Pastor Mo and Julia Resendez may add their loved ones to an ofrenda of honor as they remember their memory this coming November.

The Resendez children all say the memory of their parents remain fresh every time they head across the family home.

Things that not only remind them of their loss, but of the many contributions their parents made to their community.

During his years in the ministry, Pastor Mo started Templo La Hermosa, the beautiful temple.

His family hopes Mo and Julia will make their presence known during this Dia De Los Muertos, helping the Resendez family, and others remember in the best way, the many people the couple brought to God during their years in the ministry.

"We got two angles missing out of Waco, and they were people of God," said Gabriel.